I’m not a fan of spiders.* Watching the movie Arachnophobia as a child didn’t help any. Seeing that farm overrun with too-many-to-count 8-legged critters kept me up at night. Literally. Every tiny tingle on my arm in the dark after I watched it caused me to dart for the lights to be sure I wasn’t being hunted by one (or more) of those evil minions.
I was reminded of that spider disdain again recently as I was driving to work. While attempting to pray during the drive (with my eyes open I might add) I looked out my driver’s side window to notice a large, brown garden spider flailing in the passing air. As I slowed the car coming up on a traffic light, the spider quickly scurried to repair parts of its web. In case you were wondering, the second I saw my mortal enemy on my mirror, I gave up praying and entered into all-out war. When I sped up again, it tightened its grip on its web, slowly creeping toward the mirror on my driver’s door. If it didn’t get blown off, which I was valiantly—or should I say violently—attempting, I determined this small, hideous creature would meet a quick exit from the world of the living upon my arrival at work. But as I slowed down again coming up to a stop sign, I felt a rising, “No!” reverberate in my chest as that spider slinked in behind the mirror. I wouldn’t see it again until the next morning. Again the creature had spun its web and flailed in the air as my car traveled down the road. And again, before I could sling it off or see it met a timely death, the spider snuck behind the mirror. It wasn’t until the evening of night two that I noticed it out from his hiding place and evicted it once and for all.
In many ways, that tag-along arachnid parallels the hidden sins that fasten themselves onto us. They find deep, dark corners away from the brilliant light of God’s presence. They latch on deeply resisting eviction. They scurry to build sticky webbings binding themselves to other parts of our lives making it more and more difficult to rid ourselves of them. Anger sticks closely to bitterness. Gossip with slander. Lust with laziness and selfishness. Dishonesty with theft. One becomes two, and two becomes ten. Before we know it, the enmeshed web caused by our sins may even begin to feel like those countless spiders that took over that farm in Arachnophobia. And just like that tiny creature distracted me from praying that morning, each one of these evils seeks to keep us from spending time from God’s presence and obeying His will.
Thankfully, the Bible tells us exactly how to address these fowl, hidden sins.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
What hiding spiders are lurking in your dark closets? Why don’t you exterminate them before they overrun you?
*I addressed my spider hatred for the first time in my book, The Filling. If you want to find out about the Holy Spirit’s work in the Christian life, or just more about the origins of my hatred for 8-legged evil, you can get a copy here.